Healthier school food

Less sugar, more fruit and veg on the menu.

Expert recommendations to make school food and drink even healthier are being consulted on by the Scottish Government.

Strict rules already apply to the nutritional content of meals, drinks and snacks served in schools.

Following a review by health, nutrition and education experts, views are being sought on proposals to further reduce sugar and other measures to promote healthy choices and help tackle childhood obesity.

The proposals include:

  • Increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables with a minimum of two portions of veg and a portion of fruit to be offered as part of a school lunch
  • Introducing lower sugar limits, for example for foods such as breakfast cereal and yoghurts
  • Reducing how often sweetened and baked goods are available in primary schools
  • No longer permitting fruit juice and smoothies to be offered in primary and secondary schools
  • Introducing a new regulation for red meat which specifies, for the first time, how much of a child’s weekly intake should be high-quality produce and limits the amount of processed meat

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“More than 360,000 meals are dished up in Scottish schools every day, setting children and young people up for their lessons and – through learning about healthy habits – for life.

“While our internationally acclaimed nutritional standards are already very high, we want to go further to promote healthy, high quality food and drink and help tackle childhood obesity.

“The proposals we are putting forward are based on the latest scientific and expert advice, as well as the views of local authorities, schools and catering staff. I urge everyone with an interest in school food to have their say.”


The consultation on School Food Regulations can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

In 2017, the Scottish Government established a technical working group with representation from NHS Health Scotland, Education Scotland, Food Standards Scotland. Their report and final recommendations are published online.

The remit of the technical working group was to undertake a review of the existing School Food and Drink Regulations (Scotland) 2008, and to provide evidence based recommendations to progress school food further towards the Scottish Dietary Goals (SDGs). The primary focus of the group was the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The Scottish Government accepted all of the recommendations from the Technical Working Group.

In primary schools uptake of school lunches is the highest it has ever been due to the introduction of free school meals for all Primary 1-3 children in January 2015.


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